Tom Onslow-Cole believes he can challenge for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship drivers title, as long as he can secure a full time drive in the series for the 2010 campaign.

Tom, who was 19 when he joined the grid for the 2007 campaign at the wheel of a Team RAC BMW 320Si hasn't had a full time drive since he drove for the current manufacturer Champions, VX Racing.

Tom will be testing with the Arena Motorsport run Team AON Ford Focus ST alongside Tom Chilton, who went to Brooklands College, out in Spain before returning to complete the deal which will see him make a full time return to the Championship. Tom raced in 3 race weekends alongside Chilton in 2009, securing a brace of points finishes.

There have been doubts over the sponsorship for Tom, however he is confident that he'll make the grid at Thruxton on the 4th April, Tom said this about the AON deal: “The deal is still not done but hopefully it will all come together. It could well be the last minute but I'm confident it will happen,” he said, talking to thisislocallondon.co.uk.

“There are only six weeks to go to the first race so it is a bit hectic, but I've shown I can drop in at the last minute and do well. The year out won't have affected me.”

Tom is convinced about the cars potential, and having seen Tom Chilton take the season finale pole at Brands Hatch, as well as 3 podiums in the final 4 races, and that was after a slow start to the season – Tom said about this: “Team Arena have a strong history in the competition. They were a late entry last year and unfortunately had to do their testing and development in the public eye on race day.

“Despite that they were able to get on pole and almost secure a race win through Tom on the final weekend.

“The car will be quick. It will be fantastic to get a full-season in and I'm confident I can be up there challenging at the front.”

Onslow-Cole will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Chilton, and has proved he has the ability to wins races and Championships, having secured the 2006 Clio Cup title in dominant fashion, and took a win on his maiden season at Team RAC in 2007, before a double win at Thruxton in the VX Racing Vectra in 2008.

“The two seasons I had in the BTCC before last summer I showed I was capable of going quickly and winning races,” he added.

“I didn't want to come back to a team that wasn't going to be competitive and it is clear with Team AON's track record they will.

“Tom Chilton is going to have the advantage of having done a lot of testing, so he knows the car inside out.

“But he has been really helpful so far and he knows it will make life easier for him if he can have a team mate competing with him at the front of the grid,” Said Tom, about his previous success.

Photo credit: BTCC.net